FW: [NativeNews] Windspeaker: Residential School, Holocaust Effec ts Similar

Roland Chrisjohn, Ph. D. rchrisjo at SPAMStThomasU.ca
Tue Jun 27 13:01:47 MDT 2000


At 10:49 AM 6/27/00 -0700, you wrote:
> > Subject: [NativeNews] Windspeaker: Residential School,
> > Holocaust Effects Similar
> >
> > Residential school, holocaust effects similar
> >
>http://www.ammsa.com/windspeaker/WINDNEWSJULY2000.html#anchor1271227
> >                     By Paul Barnsley
> >                     Windspeaker Staff Writer
> >                     MONTREAL
> >
> >                     The psychiatric profession seems to
> > be coming to some
> > dramatic
> >                     conclusions as it attempts to deal
> > with mental health
> > issues in Indigenous
> >                     communities.
> >
> >                     Three days of discussion at
> > Montreal's Jewish General
> > Hospital, sponsored
> >                     by McGill University's Institute of
> > Community and Family
> > Psychiatry,
> >                     revealed that mainstream medical
> > practitioners are
> > realizing they're going to
> >                     have to confront the painful
> > realities of colonial
> > history before they can
> >                     begin to effectively treat Indigenous
> > people and
> > communities.
> >
> >                     Psychiatric practitioners and
> > professors from across
> > Canada and around
> >                     the world spoke at the conference.
> >
> >                     Moderator Lawrence Kirmayer, the
> > director of the social
> > and transcultural
> >                     psychiatry division at McGill
> > University's medical
> > school, pointed out that
> >                     statistical studies have shown that
> > Indigenous
> > communities have lower rates
> >                     of psychiatric problems when they
> > control their own
> > government functions -
> >                     the more control, the lower the rate
> > of suffering.
> >
> >                     The most contentious presentation was
> > made by an
> > Australian professor
> >                     who has studied health problems in
> > Indigenous people in
> > his country.
> >
> >                     Professor Ernest Hunter, a
> > psychiatrist who is professor
> > of public health
> >                     (mental health) in the department of
> > social and
> > preventive medicine at the
> >                     University of Queensland has studied
> > the behavior of
> > medical professionals
> >                     during the Nazi years. He looked at
> > physicians who
> > collaborated with the
> >                     Nazis as well as those who were
> > victims and those who
> > were in a position
> >                     to speak up against the medical
> > experimentation and the
> > death camps but
> >                     chose not to.
> >
> >                     Having also studied mental health
> > problems in Indigenous
> > communities in
> >                     Australia, he has seen similarities
> > between the mental
> > suffering of
> >                     Indigenous people and holocaust
> > victims.
> >
> >                     As he delivered his paper - . . . the
> > deep sleep of
> > forgetfulness: Reflecting
> >                     on Disremembering - to a lecture hall
> > filled close to
> > capacity with his peers,
> >                     Hunter felt the need to explain why
> > he was making that
> > comparison.
> >
> >                     "To consider the holocaust and the
> > experiences of
> > Australia's Indigenous
> >                     population in the same study seemed
> > reckless. Well,
> > that's how I felt in
> >                     1991 after returning from Yad Va-Shem
> > (holocaust
> > memorial) in Jerusalem
> >                     where I'd been studying medical
> > professionals as
> > perpetrators during the
> >                     Nazi years and where I'd begun to
> > consider the
> > relationship between
> >                     doctors and Indigenous Australians,"
> > he said. "At that
> > time I felt that
> >                     associating these issues was unfair
> > and unlikely to gain
> > a sympathetic
> >                     hearing amongst my medical peers.
> > Well, that proved to
> > be true; sensitivity
> >                     was very close to the surface. In
> > this paper I return to
> > the original project -
> >                     to consider medical professionals as
> > perpetrators,
> > bystanders and victims of
> >                     the trauma of the holocaust and
> > colonization. I argue
> > that this history is
> >                     critical to understanding the social
> > and political
> > context of professional work
> >                     with these traumatized populations,
> > and that to not do
> > so may lead to
> >                     complicity in rationalizing and
> > trivializing the harm
> > done."


Well, I guess now that white men have "discovered" the issue, it can be
considered the honest-to-goodness truth.  I know some of Kirmayer's work,
which I consider still to be operating under methodological individualism,
and therefore flawed.

RC






More information about the Marxism mailing list